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 The Coulsdon Town Blog
 
Cllr  Luke  Clancy
Cllr  Mario  Creatura
Cllr  Ian  Parker
 

13 businesses stop street trading due to Labour's Sunshine Tax
26/06/2017 11:51:00......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

I recently sent a series of questions to the Council about the status of their 'Sunshine Tax', asking SMEs to pay to have chairs and tables outside their businesses. It's a charge that they get nothing for and adds yet more financial pressure on those entrepreneurs trying to grow their businesses.

CQ054-17 from Councillor Mario Creatura to Councillor Hamida Ali

Could the Cabinet Member please answer the following questions about the Labour Administrations Sunshine Tax please? 

  • How many businesses in the borough does the Council believe are required to pay the street-trading tax? 
  • How many businesses in the borough have actually paid the streettrading tax since implementation? 
  • How much revenue has the Council amassed since the streettrading tax was implemented? 
  • How many businesses have reached the annual cap on the fee?
  • What has been the take-up rate of the new sign up 75 per cent discount? 
  • How many hours of Council enforcement have been devoted to policing those businesses that should pay the tax to ensure they comply? Please detail, if possible, how many FTE staff have this in their job requirement.
  • How many businesses that should pay the Council's additional tax have had enforcement action as a result of non-compliance?
  • With reports of businesses closing citing the negative impact of the sunshine tax (for example 117-year-old hardware store Emerton's in South Norwood), does the Cabinet Member feel the tax is working and will it be continuing or altering the scheme over the next fiscal year?
  • How many businesses in Croydon have cited excessive locally determined taxation as their reason for closure?

Reply

Could the Cabinet Member please answer the following questions about the Labour Administrations Sunshine Tax please?

- How many businesses in the borough does the Council believe are required to pay the street-trading tax?

169 businesses currently hold a street trading licence

- How many businesses in the borough have actually paid the street-trading tax since implementation?

110 business have so far paid for their street trading licences. There are renewals due for May and others become due thereafter.

- How much revenue has the Council amassed since the street-trading tax was implemented?

From 1 May 2016, when the new fee structure went live to 24 May 2017, application income has been £79,928.

- How many businesses have reached the annual cap on the fee?

21

- What has been the take-up rate of the new sign up 75 per cent discount?

1

- How many hours of Council enforcement have been devoted to policing those businesses that should pay the tax to ensure they comply? Please detail, if possible, how many FTE staff have this in their job requirement.

3 FTE staff have this in their job requirement. In addition NSO staff are tasked with checking for street trading compliance. Other staff are involved in the administration/enforcement of the street trading licensing process as part of their duties.

- How many businesses that should pay the Council's additional tax have had enforcement action as a result of non-compliance?

Eight

- With reports of businesses closing citing the negative impact of the sunshine tax (for example 117-year-old hardware store Emerton's in South Norwood), does the Cabinet Member feel the tax is working and will it be continuing or altering the scheme over the next fiscal year?

The intention is for the current fee structure to continue. The Council has a duty to try and ensure that the costs associated with providing a street trading licence service are met by the income from the fees attached to applications for that service. The previous fee structure did not come close to providing the necessary income needed to provide a street trading service so the council were heavily subsidising this through other funding streams, which it could no longer afford to do. The previous fee structure was also unfair as there was a single fee, regardless of the size of the area so the current fee structure has rectified this by requiring people to pay by the square metre of the highway that they use. New street trading designation applications continue to be made and considered by the Council’s licensing committee. In addition, at the last committee, there were applications to increase the trading area on one licence and increase the trading hours on another licence.

- How many businesses in Croydon have cited excessive locally determined taxation as their reason for closure?

We are not aware of any businesses that have closed down as a result of the increase in fees. However, 13 businesses have so far surrendered their street trading licences citing the increase in fees as the reason for withdrawing. 

I have written back to the Cabinet Member asking the following:

'In CQ054-17 in relation to the Council Sunshine Tax, the Cabinet Member states that 13 businesses have so far surrendered their street trading licences citing the increase in fees as the reason for withdrawing.

Could the Cabinet Member please list these businesses and in doing explain whether she believes their withdrawal indicates a failure of the policy?

The answer also stated that 8 businesses have had enforcement action taken against them as a result of non-compliance. Is the Cabinet Member able to reveal who these businesses are, what the enforcement action was issued for and what the procedure was for enforcement? E.g. were fines issued and if so how much?'

Reply received:

I can confirm that 13 businesses have surrendered their street trading licence and when doing so, indicated it was because of the new fee structure. Some 169 businesses in the borough have maintained their street trading licence. The purpose of the fee review was so that the council was legitimately recouping its expenditure in providing the licensing service. So, in that respect the fee review has been a success. The vast majority of business have decided to continue with paying for street trading licenses. The fact that a small number have decided to cease trading on the street is ultimately a commercial decision for them but the council could not continue subsidising commercial activities, as it had effectively been doing previously. With respect, I do not think it is appropriate to publicly list premises who have made the decision to surrender their licence, as the question asks, as the information was provided to the council in confidence.

I can confirm that eight businesses have had enforcement action taken against them. All were issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) for overspreading, which means they were not staying within the area permitted by their licence. An FPN costs £100, reduced to £60 if the recipient pays within 14 days. Where the recipient of an FPN is a sole trader, we would not be permitted to disclose their details due to data protection requirements. Where the recipient is not a sole trader, there is a risk that disclosing their details may prejudice the commercial interests of the particular businesses. 

 
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Impact of potential House of Fraser closure
02/08/2018 14:13:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

I've just asked Cllr Shahul-Hameed, Labour's economic Cabinet member, a question about the recent news that House of Fraser may be in danger of collapsing. You can read more about it online.

'For some months now there has been speculation about the future viability of House of Fraser, a business you'll know has a base in the Croydon Centrale Shopping Centre.

A planned rescue deal worth some £70m has recently collapsed, putting the business and its 6,000 direct members of staff nationally in danger of permanent closure.

Could you please outline what meetings you have personally had with House of Fraser to assess the impact of recent events on the Croydon store?

Could you please outline all that you are doing to try to safeguard the future of the store in Croydon?

Should House of Fraser fall into administration, can you release any information about what you understand will happen to replace its very large footprint in the Centrale Centre?

What impact willl the closure of House of Fraser have on the Westfield/Hammerson development that's currently in process?'

 


 

Bourne Society Blue Plaque
27/07/2018 11:54:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

I was pleased to attend the unveiling of a Bourne Society Blue Plaque commemorating the 1910 train crash in Coulsdon when seven people were killed after the Brighton to London Victoria Express split into two when passing points at the now closed Coulsdon North station. The rear part of the train derailed and crashed into the platform at 40 mph.

The unveiling of the plaque took place at the top of Station Approach Road, Coulsdon.  Excellent turnout of community/residents' representatives including scout leaders.  Scouts assisted with the rescue at the time of the crash and it's right that this should be remembered.

 


 

Purley & Coulsdon Clubs for the Elderly (PACE)
25/07/2018 15:57:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

I was delighted to attend their AGM and to meet their new Chairman Mrs Patricia Painter (yes – she insists on Chairman not Chair which is “a piece of furniture!”).  We wish her well in her new role.  Jim the retiring Chairman will remain involved with the important work of the organisation for which all members present were grateful.

PACE has a strong and growing committee and tribute was quite rightly paid to the many volunteers who help with lifts for members and organising a fantastic range of events from dominoes, bingo, quizzes to flower arranging, trips and painting.  The paintings were proudly displayed at the Centre where the AGM was held.

I was particularly pleased to hear that school children support the Centre by organising events. 

“Respect your Oldies – your turn will come sooner than you think!” was a message on the wall at the Centre.  I certainly respect the good work of PACE and was grateful for the invitation.

 


 

Labour push through unwanted traffic scheme at Woodcote High
13/07/2018 11:45:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Despite the objections of Coulsdon Town Councillors, local MP Chris Philp, every Residents' Association and hundreds of local people - our Labour-dominated Traffic Management Committee last night forced through unpopular plans to restrict parents and local residents driving in the area around Woodcite High School.

Cllrs Luke Clancy and Ian Parker joined residents in speaking against the plans. Here is what they said at the meeting:

Cllr Clancy

"My view on this scheme has changed over time. Initially I was receptive to the perceived benefits of displacing parking within a wider circumference of the schools.

But now I think whilst this policy could aim to solve one problem it has in fact created other challenges. Residents feel the displaced vehicles have a detrimental effect on road safety in the surrounding roads outside the pedestrianised zone, especially the Chase and Grove Wood Hill. These roads now experience blocked driveways, congestion and the type of unsafe driving practices previously complained of in the Dunsfold Rise loop.

Opposition to the scheme by residents of these roads has been evidenced by 2 petitions I am aware of received by this Council.

My view is that the benefits of the pilot are inconclusive and a permanent order should not be made for Woodcote. I support the aim of making the roads around the schools safer and less polluted. But the level of disruption that these restrictions have caused to residents has undermined any advantages the scheme may have.

Proof that the scheme has improved safety, cut pollution and increased alternative methods of transport is scant. It would seem parents are just parking a few streets further away.

It is a shame that the scheme was introduced before baseline data could be collected that would have given a more scientific basis to the experiment.

The report also rolls the three schools into one, with no real distinction between the very different areas and levels of objection. It would be wrong to give the committee a single vote on both areas.

The scheme should be abandoned or at the very least the experimental order be extended for Woodcote to consider modifications. The committee can defer decision for a further eight months as that is the period under which the experimental traffic order can continue to operate. During that time a fuller consultation can be carried out and more data gathered. Residents would welcome a full study and referendum of all roads affected, with the option both of termination or more mitigation if the scheme is eventually approved.

For example, while the installation of a new pedestrian crossing in Woodcote Grove Road is to be welcomed, parents would like to see increased public transport provision to support the objectives of the scheme. Parents and children cannot be expected to abandon the car unless that is balanced with extra public transport capacity to travel to school. The area is not as well served by buses compared a more urban area like South Norwood. This is another reason, for the purposes of this decision, the two sites should not be considered together.

If the committee was minded to implement the scheme permanently it might also consider a compromise solution that would take the some of pressure off nearby roads bearing vehicle displacement. The ANPR system could be used to regulate traffic flow more evenly by permitting some proportion of parents, such as those with the youngest children, to park in the Dunsfold Rise loop. The scheme could then continue in a modified fashion that better distributes parking across all roads around the schools."

Cllr Parker

"As a ward councillor for Coulsdon Town covering the area of restricted access by the Woodcote schools I’m grateful for the opportunity to comment following the pilot scheme.

The recommendation in the Report before you is that you consider carefully the objections raised as a result of the consultation exercise. These are significant in terms of numbers and severity.

The Committee this evening has a golden opportunity to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to be a listening council and at the same time end the severe problems created in the displaced areas around the Woodcote schools.

Traffic levels have increased in neighbouring roads. Whilst there are recognisable problems on roads nearest to the school the negative impact on surrounding roads more than outweighs any gains made in roads closer to the schools.

Obstructions to the traffic flow on Woodcote Grove Road have been evidenced creating road safety issues for motorists and pedestrians, particularly children from the Primary and students from the High School.

There is a danger that the much welcomed safety improvements recently introduced on Woodcote Grove Road with the introduction of a pedestrian crossing will be negated by the impact of restricted access near the schools.

But the displacement problems are not restricted to Woodcote Grove Road and our concerns are justifiably shared by residents on The Vale, The Horseshoe and Warwick Road.

As Chair of Governors at Woodcote High School until May this year I have first-hand experience of the difficulties and potential dangers to students arising as a result of this scheme.

I know committee members will listen carefully to the responses to the consultation. I ask that you reject the recommendation to make this unsatisfactory arrangement permanent on Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way.

Committee members should recognise that the objectors to this scheme are not restricted to those in the displaced area but also include residents who live right next to the Primary School.

I ask that the Committee votes on these three schools separately as they represent three distinctive areas requiring different solutions to their unique problems.

Finally Chair, should the Committee reject the views of a clear majority of local residents and make the zone permanent I would ask that officers immediately consider steps that will mitigate the severe impact that the zone is having on neighbours in the area outside the zone.

Thank you for allowing me time to address the Committee."

When it came to the vote, all Labour Councillors voted to push it through and all Conservative councillors voted against. Sadly Labour dominate the committee, and so permission was granted to continue with the scheme.

 


 

Pedestrianised Zone - Dunsfold Rise, Meadow Rise and Fairfield Way
13/07/2018 10:16:00.......Posted by Ian Parker

Coulsdon Town councillors have received many residents' objections to this pilot scheme by Woodcote Primary and High schools which restricts traffic on these three roads at school start and finishing times.  Last night, Labour's Traffic Management Committee approved the permanent introduction of the scheme despite the number of objections received from residents' associations, local residents and Coulsdon Town's three councillors.

Cllr Clancy, myself and other local residents spoke against making the scheme permanent. Yet again the Labour Council rides rough shod over the views of locals who are in the strongest possible position to comment on such matters.

 

 


 

Dust on Cane Hill
05/07/2018 14:42:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Know a few residents on Cane Hill have been concerned about the dust coming from the construction site impacting their property. I've looked into it and asked the Council to get in contact with the managing agent for the development. A reply has been received this morning stating that the area where earth movement was taking place which was the cause of the problem is being dampened down by the use of sprinklers. In addition to this measure, they have told us they are deploying a road sweeper to attempt to keep a handle on the problem.

They've said they met with those affected and have offered to clean the outside of your properties - if that isn't right then please do get in touch with my using mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com.

Residents should please keep me posted so I know the problem has or has not been resolved, and if not I'll sort it.

 


 

Traveling Council
28/06/2018 07:29:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

The TaxPayers' Alliance have revealed through an FOI that Croydon Council has spent £15,575.09 on air travel between January 2015 and February 2018.

Figures show that Council officers traveled 47 times in that period and flew on airlines including British Airways, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.

Given the nature and standard routes of these airlines, I've asked the Council to list the full details of the 47 flights including the following:

  • Date and duration of each trip
  • Who went on each trip
  • The destination for each trip
  • In as much detail as possible, outline the purpose of each trip
  • For each trip the reason why a flight was required over alternative methods of meeting.

I'll update the blog when I receive an answer to this question.

 


 

Progress with Aldi
21/06/2018 07:30:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Following our productive meeting with Aldi at the end of April, I'm pleased to report that progress has been made in making the car park that little bit more driver/parking friendly.

Residents will recall that we called for the meeting so that we could start the progress of working towards a solution to mitigate the poor traffic conditions along the high street.

Aldi agreed to a number of ideas, including installing signs to encourage drivers to move down inside the car park and rearrange the location of the disabled bays to encourage greater movement. The quotes for the works have been approved, and involve the permanent relocation of the disabled bays to the entrance of the store.

The programme of works is currently being worked out to ensure as little disruption to Aldi customers as possible. Once a start date has been agreed, I'll update this blog.

If you have any ideas about what else we can do to improve parking in Coulsdon, please do let me know by emailing mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com.

 


 

HADRA AGM
21/06/2018 07:02:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

It was lovely to attend my first Hartley and District Residents' Association AGM last night. Whilst I've been a councillor for Coulsdon West for the past four years, in May the new ward boundaries came into effect so my new patch of Coulsdon Town includes a few roads in the HADRA area which includes Stoats Nest Road, Hillars Heath, the bottom of Coulsdon Road and Coulsdon Woods.

There were interesting talks by local police, MP Chris Philp and Brenda Quelch-Brown of the Old Coulsdon medical practice patient participation group.

The committee gave retired councillor Chris Wright a lovely engraved glass as a token of their appreciation for his 28 years of dedicated service. With me having just completed four, I've got a while before I match his record!

 


 

Travellers on Lion Green Road
19/06/2018 08:39:00.......Posted by Mario Creatura

 
 

Residents will be aware of the travellers that seemed to have arrived in Lion Green Road car park overnight.

Damage has been reported and there is understandable concern in the local community.

Rest assured I have alerted the Council and ask that they commence the sadly lengthy procedure for eviction.

Assessments will be carried out today and the Council will be serving notice for the travellers to leave tomorrow. If they fail to move on then the Council will proceed with applying for a court order, which is likely to take another few days.

The Council will keep me appraised of their progress.

 

 


 

See older blog posts

 

 
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 Older Blog Posts
14/06/2018
East Coulsdon Residents' Association AGM
13/06/2018
Opposing Reddown Road plans
11/06/2018
Questions...
30/05/2018
Meeting with Croydon's Director of Education
26/05/2018
Coulsdon Town's Safer Neighbourhood Team
15/05/2018
Community Engagement
15/05/2018
The fish that got away...
05/05/2018
Portnals Pipe update
01/05/2018
CQC replies about the Coulsdon Medical Centre
01/05/2018
Burst sewage pipe on Portnalls Road
27/04/2018
Leaking pipe on Portnalls Road
27/04/2018
A second letter to the CQC about the Coulsdon Medical Practice
26/04/2018
Pigeon mess back under Coulsdon Town bridge
25/04/2018
Paint disposal advice
25/04/2018
Welcome 30m investment in Coulsdon South
24/04/2018
'Absolutely massive' pothole fixed
24/04/2018
Rescuing a resident at the tip!
23/04/2018
Enough CCTV in Croydon?
21/04/2018
Productive meeting with Aldi
06/04/2018
Letter to save the Coulsdon Medical Centre
27/03/2018
Labour's track record - not something to be proud of
23/03/2018
My Lion Green Road objection
23/03/2018
My Coulsdon Community Centre objection
23/03/2018
Labour dominated planning committee approve controversial Coulsdon schemes
21/03/2018
Coulsdon Medical Practice
14/03/2018
Aldi replies - and wants to meet
07/03/2018
The saga with the Coulsdon Town toilet continues
02/03/2018
A letter to the CEO of Aldi UK about the issues with their Coulsdon Branch
24/02/2018
Future of Coulsdon Yulefest Christmas lights put at risk
17/02/2018
Broken bog strikes again
 
 
 
 
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